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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
You can be haunted by many things and Josh Weston has it bad. In The Haunting of Josh Weston by Melinda Rucker Haynes, Josh is haunted by the gruesome death of his cousin, the loss of his father in Afghanistan, and his own issues being the new kid in a new school run by a ruthless bully. One night when Josh feels he can’t stand it anymore, he walks out to the cliff at the edge of his ranch and considers ending his pain. That’s when he realizes he really is haunted by the ghost of a cranky old prospector and his mean burro, Snowball. With Powder Pete’s support and life lessons, Josh is forced to face the issues confronting him and deal with the bully, who has more going on than just being mean in school. Pete leads Josh to a stash of drugs which they take to the local sheriff’s substation in the middle of the night. This, of course, leads to more problems, but with Pete’s help and his own newly restored confidence, Josh is able to do the right thing. Hopefully it will be in time to prevent further tragedy.
Magical and moving, The Haunting of Josh Weston by Melinda Rucker Haynes is a powerful YA paranormal tale that offers lots of emotional insights and a message of hope to anyone who is suffering from insecurities and bad memories. The action is quick-paced as the tension between Josh and the bully builds, but the relationship between Josh and Pete provides a timeless feeling and a sense of love and support that Josh’s mother just can’t provide by herself. With a subtle romantic element, there is just the right balance between the paranormal and the everyday to make the story quite believable and uplifting. Excellent story - kept me glued to the pages! The Haunting of Josh Weston is certainly well worth reading.